Huge Step to Save Key Amur Tiger HabitatsBy introducing a ban on Korean pine logging, the Russian government has made significant progress in safeguarding the endangered Amur tiger, of which there are fewer than 500 left in the wild. Rising global demand for Korean pine, a key species found in Amur tiger habitats, has led to a massive increase in logging, much of it carried out illegally, in Russia’s remaining temperate forests.
To help regulate logging in these forests, Russia had previously listed Korean pine in Appendix III of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). This listing required exports of Korean pine to be accompanied by CITES permits, making it more difficult for illegal timber trade to continue.
With the adoption of a new version of the legal list of tree and shrub species prohibited for timber logging, the Russian government has taken more drastic measures to protect Korean pine. Historically the species has been harvested in excess of allowable limites by as much as 3.7 times.
“A ban on Korean pine logging is the best gift for the Amur tiger in the Year of the Tiger.” said Igor Chestin, CEO of WWF-Russia. “Korean pine has crucial importance for tiger conservation: its cones are fodder for wild boards and wild boars are tiger’s prey.”
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